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Finch released from Eels contract

09/04/2009 06:31:54 PM Comments (0)

Brett Finch's best chance at playing in the NRL again is a Clint Newton style cameo after Parramatta gave the former NSW halfback an unconditional release on Thursday.

Finch's manager Steve Gillis will spend the next week trying to find the 27-year-old a new club but admits the best option is likely to be heading to England to finish his rugby league career, although he hasn't ruled out staying in the NRL if a deal eventuates.

Newton famously walked out on Newcastle after round 11 in 2007 only to join Melbourne a fortnight later and secure an NRL premiership ring later the same year before heading overseas.

Gillis said Finch would entertain such an option, with Melbourne among several NRL clubs looking for a playmaker, but only if English clubs were willing to wait a year for him to arrive in England.

Finch has walked away from a three-year $1 million deal and while he was paid out an undisclosed sum by the Eels, securing a safe long-term future will take priority.

"Brett is gambling with his future," said Gillis.

"I can't tell you which way he is leaning towards, here or overseas.

"We are looking at overseas as a genuine option because it is more likely to be long term employment for him.

"Here a few of the clubs are looking at short term contracts for him for this year. I'm not sure how many will look this year and beyond.

"It's a jigsaw puzzle whether a club just wants him until the end of the year or they want a half a year and another couple going forward.

"He has to weigh up does he do the one short term and then try to get one long term, or does he go long term from the start.

"He has the opportunity to back himself or he can go to England now and make sure his future is secured.

"If an England club said we want you for this year and two more and if you don't come now we will go a different direction next year we may have to say the safer option is to take the secure avenue."

Gillis said for Finch to remain in Australia in the short term he would most likely have to play for minimum wage.

He said Finch was similar to Newton in that a club's immediate premiership chances could help sway the decision.

"If he goes to an NRL club short term he is going for minimum wage," he said.

"Hopefully he can make a decision within a week."

The Eels quick cut and run from Finch prompted scathing criticism from Parramatta great Peter Sterling who said he had "grave concerns" about the direction of the club.

Sterling can't understand why the club would get rid of their best, and only, playmaker just four weeks into the NRL season.

"As a Parramatta man, I'm disturbed and very confused," Sterling told Sydney radio 2WS on Thursday.

"Brett's saying it's not his decision; the club is saying it's not theirs.

"The bottom line is our chief playmaker is pretty much gone after a month.

"I watched Parramatta over the opening month and they've played some very ordinary football.

"To play their best football they need players with enthusiasm and drive and energy.

"Along those lines, the first player you would choose is Nathan Hindmarsh and the second player you select is Brett Finch."

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